So I thought about this for a while, trying to think of what the perfect symbol is for me of a happy life, and for some reason, the image of measuring my children and grand-children against a door way came to mind. I have a set of grandparents, my mom's parents, where we used to go every once-in-a-while and my granny would get out a knife from her kitchen drawer and carve a little line to show how much we'd grown since we'd seen her last. She'd carve our initials and the month/year too. There was always quite a bit of grown (an inch or more) each time, because we didn't go there very often. My mom's family is one riddled with turmoil, so it took a lot to get my dad in the mood to put up with my grandparents. I remember seeing pictures lining the hallway that lead out of my granny's kitchen, pictures of some of my younger cousins, constantly updated photos ordered from the JCPenney portrait studio. The classic early 90's photo of a baby in a wash bucket...
All of this doesn't really stir in me the warmest mooshiest feelings, but it does stir in me a sense of who I want to be as a mother and grandmother. My grandparents moved out of that old farmhouse and never gave those old measurements (or their significance in our family history) a second thought. Whoever bought the house from them probably ripped that old dark woodwork out and replaced it with something freshly painted. C'est la vie.
I want to be at the other end of my life, living in my 'forever house'. I want to have lots of little carvings showing many children and grandchildren, their progress. I want to associate so many happy memories with each and every one of those kids. I want to have all of their pictures hanging in my hallway, not just a select few.
I want to be the granny who makes them yummy meals and tells them funny stories. I want to be the mom they can come to when they are in trouble and when they're not. I want to tell secrets and giggle and paint our toenails. I want to camp in a tent out on the lawn and teach them the joy of a s'more. I want to take them shopping for clothes and sports equipment and purses and great books. I want to have a warm well-worn home full of memories and love and children who grow taller and stronger and smarter and more loving every time I see them.
So where do you want to be when you are at the end of this journey? What's the symbol of having achieved those dreams?